How can I help my employees quit smoking?

Arjun Kumar

July 27, 2020

This is a question you may have considered with colleagues within your HR team or those focused on employee well-being – what did you come up with? It can bring up a range of thinking – for example ‘is it my responsibility to help my employees quit or to ensure that their habit has least impact possible on the majority?’ or ‘how do I approach someone who smokes and suggest quitting would be right for them?’ – the very idea of encouraging smokers to quit could be a minefield in itself, a delicate balance is certainly needed, and if met, can lead to everybody in your organisation benefiting.

Research from British Heart Foundation (BHF) & Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that smoking breaks cost employers £1,815 a year for each full-time member of staff who lights up during working hours. Additionally, a CEBR review of 300,000 smokers (from data provided by Office for National Statistics) found that smokers also take 70% of an extra day's sick leave per year more than non-smokers. And in the case of long-term absence from work, employers may need to allocate work to others in the team or hire a temp, naturally this external hiring comes with cash and time costs on recruitment and training. Stats vary by industry but you get the idea – if you want to get a more personalised cost of smoking to your organisation, give this handy calculator a go:

So, what can you do to help your employees quit smoking?  

Ultimately, the decision to quit smoking lies with the individual employee. But there are a few things employers can do to show their support for those trying to quit.

  • Ensure any company well-being strategy in the company considers smoking (understanding how many smokers there are in the company, demographics of smokers etc.)  
  • Educate: periodically have open and positive discussions about smoking health risks, health and well-being. Keep the communication fresh but consistent (newsletters, noticeboards, campaigns, workshops etc.)
  • Be aware of, and ensure there is useful information provided about local smoking cessation services which are on offer
  • Actively get involved in national campaigns around non-smoking (Stoptober, No Tobacco Day)  
  • Providing incentives for quitting smoking – the company saves money from healthier staff and less sick days, so everyone is a winner.

If you are committed to helping your employees quit smoking without any of the ‘headache’, do get in touch:

28 Days provide a digital and telephone sessions, tailored to all types of working hours with clinics running from 8am-8pm Monday – Thursday, 8am-5pm Friday and 10am-1pm Saturday. Our NCST trained Quit Coaches can offer behaviour change support to assist with the quit journey, resources, digital tools and advice on pharmacotherapy and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).